If it helps to state it in a positive fashion,, then it appears that atheism is the belief in the non-existence of any God.
I don’t think it does, really. Atheism is not necessarily a belief but, rather, it is a non-belief. It is an important distinction. There are a few atheists – and I know of only one, who posts on this site – who state unequivocably that God does not exist. I think that can legitimately be called a belief. But most atheists make no such claim.
For Americans and others, I have never heard the Constitution referred to as a set of principles.
Then perhaps I can refer you to the New Oxford American Dictionary which includes the following definition:
“A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed”.
I don’t want to get too picky about this but it has a certain significance in relation to your original post. The vast majority of laws in any constitutional state are not written into the constitution itself. They are instituted by a legal body which makes reference to the constitution. In the United States the prime legal body is the Supreme Court. It does not trouble me greatly if you want to call the Constitution a set of guiding laws or indicative laws but they are certainly guiding principles. Federal and state laws change relatively rapidly but the Constitution, for good reasons, changes very slowly and only through a set of rigorous procedures. This is why, in my post of 26 August, I picked you up on the following comment:
I never said that there wete no laws of separation of Church and state. I said that it was not in the Constitution and it isn't. Our laws have gone far beyond the Constitutional requirement that the Government not establish a religion. Laws are constantly being changed and someday so will this anti-religion trend.
I wrote that Fooloso4 has pointed out the relevant sections of the First Amendment. Do you regard this as a part of the Constitution or not? Does it matter if it is a law or a guiding principle? You have not replied to this issue but I think it is very relevant, if only because of continuing debates over the significance of Roe v Wade and the significance of religious and moral views in the political sphere.
What do you mean when you state that, “Our laws have gone far beyond the Constitutional requirement that the Government not establish a religion”? I do not see any way in which the example you gave illustrates this statement and I explained why. Since you had not replied, I expressed my views to Burning Ghost:
"This is why I tried to engage with Tommarcus in relation to his concern that objections were being made to a manger scene on the town green but he/she did not reply. I would have pointed out that there was space for a manger scene in each and every church in the land, that there are quite a few of these, and that this is freely permissable in law. Why, therefore, should it be assumed that they can be placed anywhere else of the religious group’s choosing, particularly when the First Amendment in in place to control this? Why is there a requirement that ‘in God we Trust’ be included in the print of all US paper currency? Would it make a difference if the government required ‘in Allah we Trust’? Why would a candidate for the highest office in the land (George Bush snr) say, ” …I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God … Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on Atheists”.
I such instances I would suggest that the Government is not going anywhere near far enough in adhering to the principles of the Constitution (capital C for the specific US one).
My fear is that man-made morals can lead to good or bad. My point is that such absolute morals and purpose established by God with our creation are the best morals.
How do you define good and bad? If they are defined by your moral standpoint, then your argument is circular. If you think that the “best morals” (?!) should be based on following orders, then I beg to differ.